How to choose a microwave oven
Types and features of microwave ovens
The first models of microwaves had a height of more than one and a half meters and weighed more than 300 kg. they could only Work in the heating mode. Over the years since the invention, the technique has changed a lot. It has become much more compact and has additional features. Modern microwave ovens can be used to heat, defrost, and cook food.
Functional capabilities of the device are divided into:
- solo furnaces;
- ovens with grill;
- convection ovens.
The solo microwave is the simplest model, where there is only a microwave mode. It is able to defrost, heat and cook simple dishes, such as meat or vegetables-they will look and taste like boiled ones.
Ovens with a grill allow you to make the menu more diverse. They can cook not only dishes with a dietary taste, but also get a delicious toasted crust on the products. In such devices, sausages are fried, meat or poultry is baked. Some ovens are equipped with a spit, which is skewered with a skewer or a chicken carcass.
You can turn on the grill separately or in combination with microwaves. The combined mode reduces the cooking time (although the energy consumption increases significantly) and makes it possible to brown the dish. Separately, the grill is rarely used – mainly for frying bread or cooking hot dogs.
Installed in the microwave grill can be:
With a tubular electric heating element;
The grill with a tubular electric heating element is a curved metal tube with a spiral located inside. It is located on the ceiling of the working chamber, which creates certain difficulties when cleaning. In some stoves, this grill is mobile. It can be installed at an angle so that the product is not heated from above, but from the side. The maximum temperature of the tubular electric heating element reaches 650 degrees, it is ready for operation in about 3 minutes after switching on.
A quartz grill is a flat lamp made of quartz glass, inside of which is a wire made of an alloy of chromium and Nickel. Place it also on top, but in a special recess-the ceiling of the furnace in this case has many holes. This design is easy to care for, since the hostess does not interfere with wiping a flat surface. The quartz grill heats up in just 1 minute, and the temperature is higher – up to 800 degrees.
They also produce ovens with a double grill: with a tubular electric heating element and a quartz one. Quartz, as usual, is placed in the upper part, and a microwave oven with a tubular electric heating element is installed parallel to the back wall. When turned on, it falls down, taking a horizontal position. During the operation of the double grill, the products are placed on the grill. The heat is directed at them from above and below, which reduces the cooking time and provides a more uniform heating.
Convection is the circular motion of heated air flows. To do this, a heater and fan are built into the back wall of the chamber, allowing the microwave to work as an oven. Most stoves that have this function are also equipped with a grill.
Convection provides fast and even heating, allowing you to bake meat, fish and vegetables, bake pies and cupcakes. You can turn it on separately or in conjunction with other modes (microwaves, grill) – the combinations depend on the model of the oven. Microwave ovens with convection are multifunctional and suitable for cooking a large number of dishes, but they consume more energy and are more expensive than their counterparts without this function.
Some ovens have other features, such as a built-in toaster or steam generator.
According to the method of installation, microwaves are divided into:
The built-in model is installed in a niche of the kitchen set or placed in a column with other appliances. This allows you to more organically fit the device into the interior.
Stand-alone microwave ovens have another advantage: mobility. You can easily rearrange them or take them with you when you move.
Another classification of microwaves is Related to the way the door is opened. In most models, they are hung on the side, but there are also furnaces with a horizontal (hinged) door. It opens down like an oven. This model is convenient if the oven is below the level of the countertop or on the left side of the wall.
The door can be opened in different ways. Some devices have a classic handle, while the doors of other stoves open after pressing the button on the front panel.
The latter option is considered easier to use and easier to clean – a smooth surface without protruding parts is easy to wipe off dirt. But it also has a drawback: over time, many buttons begin to sink or break.
Microwaves are also divided into:
models with a rotating pallet;
devices without a turntable.
Most devices have a magnetron located on the side. For uniform penetration of microwaves into products, they have to be constantly rotated – this task is performed by a rotating tray.
However, models are produced without a turntable. They have a magnetron built into the bottom along with a special microwave distributor (it turns instead of food). These furnaces have several advantages. First, you can cook dishes in them in several bowls standing next to each other. Secondly, the flat bottom of the devices is much easier to wash. Finally, the absence of a rotating tray reduces the risk of breakdowns: after all, the rotating mechanism may eventually fail.
Characteristics of microwave ovens
The main characteristics of furnaces include:
diameter of the rotating pallet;
availability and number of automatic programs;
the type of control and display;
the presence of a timer and a delayed start function;
ability to disable the sound signal;
presence of a security lock;
inner cover of the camera.
The power of microwaves can be different: from 500 to 1700 watts. The cooking, defrosting, or heating time depends on this characteristic.
In all models, the power is adjustable, and you should choose the desired level depending on what you plan to do:
- 100 W is used to maintain the temperature of ready meals;
- 300 W is enough for normal defrosting;
- 400-500 W is used for fast defrosting of small products;
- 500-700 watts are suitable for cooking soups, cooking meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables.
- more than 800 W is usually used for rapid heating.
If you liked oven with grill and convection, keep in mind that while the inclusion of modes of power will emerge: the power of microwaves added grill power and convection power, and to withstand a greater total load will be only high-quality wiring.
The volume of microwaves is from 15 to 40 liters. Models with a working chamber of less than 20 liters are suitable for one or two people. They can be used to prepare small portions of food. Microwaves with a volume of 20-30 liters are designed for a family of three or four people. They fit larger products, such as a whole chicken.
For large families, the best choice will be an oven with a chamber of 30-40 liters, in which you can bake a duck or goose, place large dishes. Of course, we are talking about cooking – if the device is only necessary for batch heating, in any case, the most compact model will suffice.
A characteristic such as the diameter of the rotating pallet directly depends on the volume of the working chamber. For different models, it is 25-35 cm.
Automatic programs can include auto-defrosting (fast and normal), auto-heating, and cooking modes for various dishes. Depending on the model, there may be 3-4 or several dozen of them. Using such programs is very simple: you just need to select a recipe and specify the weight of the products. The microwave will determine the temperature and cooking time itself. Some ovens also have a memory function where you can save your own favorite recipes.
The control panel can be touch-sensitive, push-button or with rotary switches (this is usually found in the simplest models). The touch panel is easier to clean – the flat surface is easier to wash than the protruding buttons. A display that displays the time, selected mode, and other settings will make it easier to manage and control the cooking process.
The timer allows you to set the maximum duration of work, and the delayed start function is useful if you want to get a ready meal by a certain date (for example, by the time you return from a walk).
The ability to disable the sound signal that the microwave tells you about the end of the program will help young mothers. Using it, they can not worry that the sound will disturb the baby’s sleep. Another useful feature for parents is a security lock that prevents the child from turning on the device.
When choosing a microwave oven, a parameter such as the inner coating of the camera is also important. It can be enameled, acrylic, ceramic and bioceramic, stainless steel.
Acrylic and enamel are the simplest and most affordable types of coatings. They are easy to clean, but lose quality due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures and deteriorate due to the formation of carbon-then indelible stains appear on the walls. In addition, these surfaces are easy to scratch.
Stainless steel is more durable and resistant to external factors. It is usually used in convection ovens. It is more difficult to clean a steel surface from fat and food residues than an enameled one. for this purpose, you may need abrasives.
Ceramic or bioceramic coatings have many advantages. They are unpretentious in care, they do not stick to fat and soot. Ceramics have antibacterial properties and high thermal conductivity: food in this microwave will be prepared faster. The main drawback of these models is the high cost.
Top 5 microwave ovens
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven with Smart Sensor, Easy Clean Interior, ECO Mode and Sound On/Off, 1.2 Cu.ft, 1100W, Black Stainless Steel
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 1.2 Cu. Ft, 1200W
Toshiba EM925A5A-BS Microwave Oven with Sound On/Off ECO Mode and LED Lighting, 0.9 Cu.ft, Black Stainless
Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN966S Stainless Steel Countertop/Built-In with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cu. Ft, 1250W
BLACK+DECKER EM925AB9 Digital Microwave Oven with Turntable Push-Button Door,Child Safety Lock,900W,0.9 cu.ft,Stainless Steel
How to choose the best appliances for the kitchen read here: